Adoption Information for Birth Parents
If you are the parent or a relative of a child who is being adopted then this information is for you. We know that the loss of a child through adoption is likely to have a lifelong effect on you and your family. It is important that you have an understanding of what adoption means.
What is adoption?
Children can only be placed for adoption if or when the court has made a Placement Order or parents are agreeing to an adoption.
Adoption is a Court Order which creates a new legal relationship between a child and his/her adoptive family. Adoption permanently ends the legal relationship between the child and his/her birth family. Once an Adoption Order is made it cannot be revoked.
If your child is made the subject of an Adoption Order, she/he will become part of the adoptive family and will no longer be legally related to you or anyone else in your family.
Knowing about you is important
Before an adoption can be arranged, the agency is required by law to ask for detailed information about you and your child. This helps in making decisions about their future. You can therefore help your child by providing as much information as you can about yourself and your family and by understanding the importance of us knowing about your family's health.
We try to arrange for all birth parents to meet the prospective adopters of their child if it is felt to be appropriate. This is to help both sets of parents to have an image of, and a little more knowledge about each other. It will also be helpful for your child's adoptive parents to know as much as possible about your family background, as we know this helps adopted children to have a clear sense of their identity as they grow up. Brothers and sisters (including half-brothers and sisters) are also very important to adopted children. If brothers and sisters have to be placed separately, the adoptive familes will usually be asked to keep in touch with each other. Sometimes this is done through letters and sometimes by visits.
What happens after adoption?
When your child moves to live with the adoptive family, the adoptive parents will already have received information that will be important to your child growing up. Your child will also understand as fully as possible what is happening and will have their very own "Life Book" explaining their life in words, pictures and photos. Hopefully, this book will have been made with your help, as knowing about you is important. As the years go by, your child will be given more information according to their level of understanding.
If it is considered by the courts to be in your child's best interests, it is possible for you to receive some information about how she/he is doing after the Adoption Order is made. We believe that in most cases some form of continued contact with the birth family, and ongoing knowledge of them is important to a child growing up. Contact is usually twice a year by letter and is arranged via the Local Authority's Post Adoption Postbox Service.
Whether you agree to your child being adopted or not, it can be very painful to come to terms with the idea that your child is, or may be, adopted, and you may well want to have some support.
In Hartlepool we can refer you to the After Adoption Support Service. This is a free service, which gives you the opportunity to talk about the process and get support through the adoption process and beyond. You can get more information about the service on 0800 840 2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More information is available to download in the leaflet "A Birth Parent's Guide to Adoption".
The 'After Adoption' website is www.afteradoption.org.uk